G.I. Joe has been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember. I had some 12 inch figures at my Grandparents from as soon as I could walk, and I received several Joes for Christmas in 1982. It is very hard to narrow down but I’m going to pick my favorite vehicle from each year 1982-1994. I wish I would have had the vision to save the boxes but back then it wasn’t even a thought to save the boxes and we played hard so Joes got wounded often. I learned how to take them apart at a young age. Needless to say mostly everything I own has missing parts and looks like I played with it hard as a kid. Well without further ado we go back to that Christmas in 1982. Me and my brothers received several vehicles, and I have most of the 1982 vehicles and figures in my collection, some of my top vehicles include the M.M.S. and Mobat, but the Vamp has always been one of my favorite vehicles. It was just a cool design and for a pilot vehicle this one has withstood the stains of time.
I once traded my buddy an Awe Striker for the 1982 Vamp I loved the vehicle so much. Although I do love every vehicle from the 1982 line-up, the Vamp has always been my favorite. 1983 was a tough year for me as far as Joes go. After getting some really cool 1982 stuff, 1983 proved to be a dud of a year for me and I did not get one thing that year. Although my brother did get the Skystriker that year, it wasn’t mine. The Skystriker is one of my top vehicles along with the APC, but the Dragonfly was always one of my favorites from this year. It was sturdy and came with one of my favorite characters. The dragonfly was used a lot in the cartoon but I think it was the working propeller that was my favorite part as a kid. There were also many other working components that makes this still one of my all time favorites. My cousin gave me some hand me down Joes and the Dragon Fly was in there so I did have one as a kid, but only got it in 1985 or 86. Moving on to 1984, oh the pain I suffered this year. I did get a Recondo for my birthday this year but missed getting a Spirit by one person at the local Firehouse Santa give away, but I got a 1983 Cobra Trooper instead (which I wish I had just tossed him aside and left him in the package, but I didn’t).
Any how, G.I. Joe was successful enough to start making some bigger vehicles. The Rattler and Stinger were 2 awesome new vehicles but the 1984 Whale was one of the largest and coolest vehicles at that time. I can’t say enough about this vehicle and it most likely could have held your entire collection of Joes if you were fortunate enough to get one that year. Along with many features this had working propellers and really floated on water. This is one vehicle that was in with the lot my cousin gave me so I did have this as a kid and it was and still is one of my all time favorites. In 1985 I bought my first 2 Joes with my birthday money. $5.00 for Shipwreck and Footloose. This is arguable the heyday of G.I. Joe and this year released some of the greatest vehicles such as the Awe Striker, Mauler, and Moray along with the holy grail of Joe collecting the USS Flagg, although I have never seen a Flagg in Person, one day I hope to own one. My favorite vehicle from this year though is another one my brother got as a gift and I got the big fat stiff arm, well not completely we got a few for Christmas to share that year, Awe Striker, Ferret, Night landing and some of the other small vehicles. I loved every vehicle from this year but, the Snow Cat was an awesome snow vehicle and was used in the carton quite often. Frostbite is one of my all time favorite characters and one of the best figures. There is just something about the Snow Cat that draws me in every time I see one. I own a few including one with the original box, the only original box I own. There were so many awesome vehicles from this year it is hard to narrow it to just one.
That brings me to my heyday year for G.I. Joe, 1986. Every day I raced off the school bus to catch an episode of G.I. Joe. Back in those days there was no DVR, or YouTube if you missed it you missed it. My mother was trying to make up for lost time I think and loaded my brothers and me up for Christmas. I got most of the figures from that year, a Conquest, Havoc, and Tomahawk, but I did not get my favorite vehicle. It would be some 25 years before I picked up my favorite 1986 vehicle. It was one I was promised for spending my whole summer doing grunt work helping build a huge double fireplace. The Night Raven was always one of my all time favorites. It was devastating to me as a child that I never received this. This point in my life may very well be what made me start collecting as an adult. I wanted what I never had, and after I picked this up as an adult and was already on the collectors highway I didn’t want to stop with it. The Rattler was an awesome plane put the Night Raven being chased by Ace and the Skystriker, that is an awesome jet. 1987 was another great year for me for figures and vehicles. I pulled in a huge cash of Joes that Christmas. I got some great vehicles like the Mobile Command Center that was really cool, Wolf, Maggot, and Mamba are all awesome vehicles and the Crossfire was a really cool RC car that I have never owned but if I ever come across one, I will be sure to buy. I did get a dominator for Christmas as well and I always loved the concept of the Battle Force 2000 base.
It wasn’t till about 2014 when I got my hands on a complete set of all the vehicles and, the Battle station is really cool when it is all put together and I love the individual vehicles as well, I put this vehicle high on my over all list just because of the work that went into a mobile base and just how cool this is all put together. It is one I dreamed about as a kid looking in the Sears catalogue and wishing I had it to play with. It was a really cool concept and is still one of my all time favorite sets. 1988 was one of those years for me, I did get a lot of Joes for Christmas but I was going through puberty. I always had a love for Joes, but I was getting into sports and started working, so they were not a priority, but my friend and I used to build huge dios in my backyard in the sand with them. That year I had a Phantom X-19, Skystorm, and some Tiger Force vehicles but the one vehicle I absolutely love is the Warthog, one big reason was the SGT. Slaughter with the removable hat, but the whole vehicle was cool and based on a real military vehicle. Something that I was drawn to right from the 12 inch figures, I loved that WWII style Willys Jeep, and I loved all the vehicles based on real military vehicles. Not that I didn’t like the concept stuff, but the real stuff is what attracted me to G.I. Joe. I had the Warthog as a kid and still own it even though it looks like it went through a battle, the only thing that is missing is that hat that I loved so much to begin with. 1989 the last of my innocence, GI Joe was still rolling out some awesome figures and some really cool vehicles like the Thunderclap, Condor, and one that I received for Christmas this year the Crusader. Man I loved that Crusader , not as big as the Defiant, but the best part of it. I mean it would have been awesome to have a defiant, but I always loved the shuttle portion and I still have that one I got as a kid today, its missing a few parts but it is in pretty good shape for a 30 year old toy that got locked away in the attic for some 25 years. This created hours of fun for me as a kid and someday soon I hope to set up a space scene of some sort to share my Crusader with everyone. 1990, This was the last year I received Joe’s as a gift. I had a few figures and a Destro’s Dominator. I was a freshman in high school so yeah my Joe days were coming to an end. This year had some really cool vehicles though like the Hammerhead, Hurricane and General, but one of my all time favorites the Avalanche came from this year. What a cool vehicle this is. Quite large and totally badass. I was able to get one pretty complete later in life and it did not disappoint. With projectiles and removable air sled this one was a big hit with my kids as well. When you set this up with a few Polar Battle Bears and a Snow Cat or 2, we’re rolling over Cobra with ease.
By 1991 my Joe years were pretty much in the past, I did not get rid of what I had but I didn’t get anything else new. This was not the best year for Joe vehicles by any stretch, but for any Joe fan and collector there are some good ones from this year. The Septic Tank was interesting and the Ice Saber was a cool vehicle, The Battle Copters were my favorite for this year. Not the best at executing its purpose but the concept itself was really cool. I was able to get my hands on some of these and they worked OK, maybe the mechanism was a little worn out from all the use over the years, but all in all these were probably a lot of fun to a 10 year old. I had a few battles with my son and they worked decent enough to get a few hours of bonding time together. 1992 was another year with mediocre vehicles, the Earthquake was nice, along with the Toxo-lab, but the Liquidator and Storm Eagle were really cool jets. Equipped with squirt guns built into the jet these were a lot of fun and I actually did have a couple battles with my kids with these. G.I. Joe seemed to be trying to make the toys more appealing to kids with stuff like this. Although the vehicles were squirt guns the handle folds away and the planes have a nice real life feel to them. Maybe slightly concept type planes, but realistic to say the least. These are nice and these are pretty awesome looking even if you never fill them up with water. 1993 had some decent vehicles like the Ghost Striker and Starfighter. The Shark 2000 is one of my favorites from this year. It kind of reminds me of a mini Whale. It has a lot of holding room and a pretty cool design.
Its big but not too big and I think this is a vehicle that doesn’t get enough credit, but over all this is a really cool boat. I wouldn’t mind finding one for some customizing maybe give it a paint job similar to the 2005 G.I. Joe Moray. I do have one of these in my collection and it is a pretty nice vehicle over all. Finally we come to the final year 1994, the 13th year. Very fitting the original 13 colonies, the original 13 figures, and original 13 years. Unfortunately they did not go out with a bang. Fortunately for me I was focused on graduating high school and college at the time. The Razor Blade and Blockbuster were OK vehicles in my opinion. They were kind of generic and didn’t really pop out at me, so my favorite vehicle is the Manta-Ray. Nothing really special other then an inflatable raft. This was one good for the pool or tub, but it didn’t hold a stick to the Night Landing or even the 1984 Manta as far as water vehicles go and character goes. It did have enough appeal for me to shell out $3.00 for it at my local flea market. It was quite a transformation from 1982 to 1994, not only for G.I. Joe and Myself , but for the world. G.I. Joe was part of life, it created friends, and I’m sure some fights like when my little brother tied Countdown to a firecracker and tossed him out the window, most importantly G.I. Joe created great memories for me. There were so many great figures and vehicles, although I picked my top vehicle for each year, no matter how large and small, realistic or corny looking, I love the complete line-up of G.I. Joe vehicles.
Which G.I.Joe vehicles are your favorite? Sound off AFTER THE JUMP!